The NBA is back and the players are hungrier than ever to prove that they are the best. While we all know the likes of Lebron James, Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, and other elite players in the league, there are plenty of other players who are hoping to reach the same level as them. These players are working hard day and night to have a breakout season and help their team win. It’s hard to predict who will have a breakout season in any given year, but it’s worth a try, right?
This article will take a closer look at ten NBA players we think are poised to have breakout years. If you didn’t already, you will definitely know these names after this 2017/18 season. Whether it is because of an increase in talent, better opportunities, or something else all together, these players will definitely be commanding a lot more attention by the end of the season.
10. Myles Turner – Indiana Pacers
Simply put, Myles Turner is among the most unique players in the NBA. If he can stay healthy, this year will be his coming out party. Turner is a center who is not only good at scoring in the paint, but also scored over 100 three pointers last year. Add in his defensive and rim protecting skills, and you have the makings of a true superstar. With Paul George gone from the Pacers, Turner is now the future. If he can continue to develop an all-around game, he will be very difficult to deal with from a defensive standpoint. I could easily see Turner averaging 20 and 10, while continuing to help out his team on the defensive side of the ball as well.
9. Aaron Gordon – Orlando Magic
While a lot of fans know about Aaron Gordon for his amazing showing during his appearances in two Dunk Contests, he is so much more than just a guy who can jump high and dunk hard. In the past his development was stunted, as the Magic were reluctant to give him as big a role as many felt he deserved. However, look for them to finally give him a solid chance this year. He is an extremely athletic player, who is also developing the other areas of his game very nicely. While he may never be an incredible shooter, he is one of the best rollers and cutters in the league, and could make life tough for opposing defenders. With more playing time and a better skill set, look for Aaron Gordon to become something akin to a mini Blake Griffin.
8. Skal Labissiere – Sacramento Kings
This man not only has one of the best names in the NBA today, but he is also a pretty damn good player. Labissiere is playing in the somewhat-crowded frontcourt of the Sacramento Kings, but I still believe he will have a breakout season this year. He barely played as a rookie in 2016-17, but when he did get the time and the opportunity, he took advantage of it on both ends of the floor. He has also proven to be very efficient when it comes to his post scoring, which is very important when trying to win games. Also, with no one on the Kings being a bonafide superstar, he could definitely make the jump and be their go-to player.
7. Rodney Hood – Utah Jazz
Realistically, Hood was set for a breakout year last year before injuries forced him to miss over 20 games. He struggled mightily last year and a lot of people expect that to continue. I, on the other hand, feel that Rodney Hood will really come into his own this year and bounce back in a very big way — as long as he stays relatively healthy. With guys like Gordon Hayward and George Hill gone from the team, Hood immediately becomes one of the best scorers on the team. He has good size for a shooting guard and can score from almost anywhere on the court, which makes him a very tough matchup. I don’t think it’s unrealistic that Hood could possibly but up nearly 20 points a game this year.
6. Jusuf Nurkic – Portland Trail Blazers
Before getting traded to the Blazers, Nurkic was a role player on the Nuggets who no one thought too much about. However, when he got traded to the Blazers at the trade deadline last year, that all changed. He averaged over 15 points and 10 rebounds a game for the Blazers and helped them get to the playoffs. He also played well on the defensive end average more than a steal and a block per game. He is still very young and has a lot to prove, and this is also a contract year for him. While he won’t be the first option on a team with Damian Lillard, he is more than capable of surpassing those already-impressive numbers last year if given the chance to do so.
5. D’Angelo Russell – Brooklyn Nets
While Russell was solid enough with the Lakers, many felt he didn’t live up to the hype of being a No. 2 overall draft pick. With Lonzo Ball being drafted last Summer, there was even less of a role for Russell in La La Land. As a result, he was traded to the Nets and some fans were quick to call him a bust.
However, I think the move to Brooklyn will be one of the best things that ever happened to D’Angelo Russell. He still has a ton of upside and will be the unquestioned leader and star on the Nets. While the team itself may struggle for wins this year, there is a good chance Russell takes a step up and become the star that many thought he would when he was first drafted by the Lakers a few years ago.
4. Devin Booker – Phoenix Sun
Booker is probably the most well-known player on this list, but I think he will become a legitimate top five shooting guard this season. Booker is primarily a scorer, but it’s something he does incredibly well. In fact, he put up a crazy 70 point game last year, showing everyone just what he is capable of when he is on fire. With Eric Bledsoe possibly on his way out in Portland, Booker becomes the best guard on the team and I wouldn’t be shocked to see him average close to 25 points a game this season. Even though people already know his name (in most cases, because of that 70 game), I think this is the year that Booker goes from “up and comer” to one of the best pure scorers and shooters in the entire league. The fact that he plays on the Suns with their high tempo offense doesn’t hurt much either.
3. Clint Capela – Houston Rockets
Even though he plays on a team with the likes of Chris Paul and James Harden, I believe there is still a chance Clint Capela is seen as a top tier center after this NBA season. He has been the defensive anchor for the Rockets, and is also capable of contributing on the offensive end of the floor. In fact, he put up over 12 points a game last season, on nearly 65 percent shooting. Add that to his great rebounding and blocks, and you have a very solid big man. While his ceiling is hurt by the fact the will never be the star on this team, and the fact that the Rockets use the perimeter a lot, I still think Capela will definitely begin to receive a bit more praise once this season.
2. Brandon Ingram – L.A. Lakers
Brandon Ingram was the talk of the town throughout last year’s season. With first overall pick Ben Simmons out injured for the entire season, Ingram took over center stage as when it came to rookies, since he was the No. 2 overall pick, selected by Lakers. However, he responded by playing below average and many fans and NBA pundits soured on him.
However, we’re sure he will perform much better this year. He is going to benefit from playing with Lonzo Ball and is still growing and getting accustomed to the NBA game. He showed flashes of brilliance last season and with the work he put in over the offseason to get bigger and better, his play time should also increase. He is a talented scorer who I believe will be the bright spot on an improved Lakers team in 2017-18.
1. Dejounte Murray – San Antonio Spurs
That’s right, I believe that the young Spurs second-year point guard will have one of the biggest breakouts in the NBA this season. He is only 21-years-old, but has already played and started in a few regular season and playoffs games, and performed decently during those. With Tony Parker getting older, the job of the starting point guard for the Spurs will be Murray’s to lose. He is insanely athletic and has great vision, and has plenty of time to continue to improve. Also, with the likes of Kawhi Leonard and others on the floor, the team won’t struggle with Murray being forced to do “too much.” He will be able to grow and mature on a successful team. Within a year or two, I could see him being a top 15 point guard with ease.